31 Unique College Fundraising Ideas To Support Your Campus

In the face of steadily increasing educational costs, colleges actively explore innovative avenues to support their academic programs, campus activities, and extracurricular initiatives. Fundraising emerges as a powerful tool in helping colleges secure the necessary financial resources to fulfill their mission.

But why opt for fundraising?

The answer lies in the deep emotional connection that current students and alumni maintain with their college. This connection propels them to participate in fun and engaging events, such as fundraisers, with genuine enthusiasm.

Consequently, the potential for profitability in college fundraising ideas is virtually boundless. All it takes is a creative and unique concept capable of attracting many participants. From organizing group events to launching online campaigns, there are numerous strategies for orchestrating successful college fundraisers, often with the support of college authorities or student unions.

In this article, we’ve meticulously compiled a list of 31 exceptional and memorable fundraising ideas tailored to colleges, each with the potential to generate substantial funds. Whether you’re part of the college administration or leading the student community, you can kick-start your college fundraising journey by drawing inspiration from our list and rallying support from the student body.s

Table of Contents

What is College Fundraising?

College fundraising involves the strategic effort to raise funds to support a college’s operations, initiatives, or programs. This collaborative endeavor typically engages students, community members, faculty, staff, alumni, and local businesses or service providers.

College fundraisers serve various purposes, such as enhancing academic experiences, bolstering the curriculum, investing in infrastructure development, providing scholarships, and funding research projects.

While many fundraising options exist for colleges, ranging from bake sales and talent shows to social media challenges and online auctions, the overarching objective remains consistent: to maximize financial contributions for a noble cause.

31 Best College Fundraising Ideas That Make A Difference

Amid the plethora of fundraising concepts that have succeeded in the past, selecting the ideal idea tailored to your college’s specific objectives can be challenging. To dispel any uncertainties surrounding your college fundraiser, peruse our meticulously curated list of ideas, each chosen for its potential to yield substantial returns.

1. Popcorn and chocolate fundraiser

popcorn chocolate fundraising

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Consider investing in a popcorn and chocolate fundraiser when contemplating your college fundraiser. Popcorn and chocolates rank among everyone’s favorite treats, regardless of age, making them ideal for your fundraiser.

For the popcorn selection, offer an array of delicious and exotic flavors, ranging from classic butter and cheese to caramel, cheddar, spicy, tangy, and even strawberry. To cater to health-conscious donors, feature gourmet popcorn made from 100% whole grains, gluten-free, with no trans fats or GMOs.

In addition to popcorn, present an assortment of mouthwatering chocolates, including sugar-coated varieties, dark chocolates, salted caramel-filled options, peanut butter bars, nutty delights, and white chocolate bars. Given the perpetual popularity of chocolates among youngsters, you’re bound to witness significant success with this sweet fundraiser.

Consider hosting your popcorn and chocolate fundraiser through direct sales at a physical venue or by establishing an online presence for convenient virtual sales.


2. Supreme snacks fundraiser

supreme snacks fundraiser

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Few things captivate donors more than an event offering an enticing array of delectable snacks. From sausages and beef sticks to cheesy dips, spreads, candies, and chocolates, you can present a wide variety of lip-smacking items at your supreme snacks fundraiser. This versatility allows you to attract a diverse audience, as everyone can indulge in their favorite treats.

To elevate the event, consider including takeaway or live counters where students can use sausages, cheese, and other ingredients to craft savory creations like sandwiches, hot dogs, and burgers.

The paramount requirement for this fundraiser is a spacious, clean, and hygienic venue. While affordability is crucial, never compromise on the quality of ingredients. Prioritize high-quality, fresh, and gourmet components to ensure a delightful experience for your donors.


3. Cookie dough fundraiser

cookie dough fundraiser

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Baking is a relaxing and enjoyable activity and a bonding experience. By organizing cookie dough collections

for your college, you can raise significant donations and provide donors an opportunity to spend quality time bonding with loved ones.

Offer a range of ready-to-bake cookie dough collections in unique flavors such as choco-chip, peanut butter, white chocolate Macadamia, sugary delights, and Snickerdoodle. The allure of these delectable options is sure to attract a swarm of supporters to your fundraiser.

To host this fundraiser, secure a suitable venue, which can even be your college’s grounds. Enlist enthusiastic students to source the dough from a reliable local store and set up stalls. Cookie dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to six months, making it an excellent choice for donors looking to stock up for holidays or special occasions.

Consider offering online sales to expand your reach, but ensure competitive prices to attract more supporters and increase donations.


4. Popcorn and Peanuts fundraiser

Popcorn and peanuts fundraiser

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For an easy-to-host and budget-friendly college fundraiser, consider the combination of popcorn and peanuts. These classic snacks, loved by nearly everyone, offer broad appeal.

To make your fundraiser even more appealing, offer a variety of flavors for popcorn, including classic buttery, cheesy, caramel, salty, and fruity options. Ensure that the popcorn is GMO-free, gluten-free, and free from preservatives, appealing to health-conscious donors. Source high-quality, fresh peanuts from reliable suppliers to guarantee freshness.

Proper packaging is essential to maintain freshness over an extended period. Pricing should be reasonable, making this one of the most affordable food-based fundraisers. It’s an excellent choice for those on a tight budget or seeking sponsorship opportunities.


5. Candle Fundraiser

Candle fundraiser

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Decorative items like candles and fragrance sticks have significant selling potential, mainly when offered at attractive prices. A candle fundraiser is an excellent choice if you need to host a low-budget fundraiser on short notice.

Candles are in demand throughout the year, making this fundraiser versatile in timing. Scented and soothing candles are essential for various occasions, from birthdays and anniversaries to holidays like Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and New Year.

Encourage students to create or collect handcrafted candles, as these can be particularly appealing to donors who appreciate the artistic skills and craftsmanship involved. Hosting this fundraiser is relatively simple, requiring only a tiny, suitable venue for a candle sale, which could even be your college premises. Alternatively, you can set up an online shop and promote the fundraiser through social media and other promotional channels.


6. Spring Fundraiser

Spring catalog

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If you plan a college fundraiser during the spring season, consider a spring fundraiser, which can be both grand and advantageous. There are countless ways to organize a spring fundraiser, making it adaptable to your specific goals.

You can sell various items, including household essentials, kitchen or cooking supplies, chocolates, classic decorations, handcrafted gift-wrapping materials, and candy boxes. Ensure you host the event in a spacious, open space, such as your college grounds or a community park, to take advantage of the pleasant spring weather.

Consider offering a combination of pleasing and practical items for participants, ensuring they find value in their purchases. The key to success is selecting products that align with your budget while maximizing returns for your fundraising efforts.


7. Lollipop fundraiser

Lollipop fundraising

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Hosting a lollipop fundraiser is one of the most cost-effective college fundraising ideas. Lollipops are universally adored by people of all ages, making them a highly enticing choice for your fundraising event.

You can choose from a vast assortment of lollipops, ranging from classic fruit flavors to unique and innovative options like caramel, root beer, cotton candy, and sour varieties. To diversify your product range, include lollipop bouquets, giant lollipops, and even personalized or custom-shaped lollipops that bear your college’s logo or mascot.

Promote your lollipop fundraiser by setting up stalls in strategic locations on your campus, during sports events, or at local community gatherings. Alternatively, you can create an online presence and leverage social media for virtual sales, reaching a broader audience beyond your immediate college community.


8. Online-only fundraiser

Online only fundraising

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Are you struggling to find a physical venue for your fundraiser, or is it during a semester break? Consider hosting an online-only fundraiser! This option ensures a contactless and hassle-free experience. Create a dedicated website, virtual platform, or social media pages to reach your audience effectively.

Organizing an online fundraising event is both effortless and productive. Recruit a team of students responsible for website maintenance, sending registration/ticket purchase links, and tracking sales. The beauty of online fundraisers is that you can start raising funds immediately.

Online-only fundraisers come in various forms, such as goods sales, auctions, virtual talent shows, or game challenges. Regardless of your choice, managing and profiting from your event is more accessible and convenient when done online.


DIY Awesome College Fundraising Ideas

We have already come up with a few college fundraising ideas that are fun, engaging, and, most importantly, profitable! However, we have many more novel DIY ideas that will be rejuvenating for your college students. These include exploring culinary skills with barbeque, keeping up close to nature with plant sales, hosting a fashion show, and many more.

While there are many DIY college fundraisers, choose one that lets your students cultivate their extra-curricular skills, artistry, or learning skills. After widespread consideration, we developed some excellent, simple, affordable, and money-making ideas for college fundraising.
Check them out!

1. Trivia competition

Trivia competition | college fundraising ideas

Host a Trivia night or competition fundraiser to engage students from different institutions while contributing to your college’s cause. Participants answer questions across various subjects, making it both educational and entertaining. You can even opt for themed trivia competitions centered around specific subjects.

Collaborate with teachers to curate essential questions and consider involving them as event hosts. This fundraiser is cost-effective, with your college’s hall room or common ground as suitable venues.


2. Dance-a-thon

Dance a thon

Energize your young students by organizing a dance-a-thon fundraiser. Participants dance to lively tunes while contributing to your college’s betterment.

Setting up a stage, arranging music, and maintaining a playlist are simple steps to host this event. Encourage donations each time a student joins the stage, motivating them to stay longer and raise more funds.


3. Karaoke night

Karaoke night

Bring out your college-goers’ party spirit with a karaoke night fundraiser. Participants pay an entry fee to take part in the singing competition.

This cost-effective fundraiser requires a karaoke machine and a suitable venue. Offer small prizes for outstanding performances to boost enthusiasm and participation.


4. Costume party

Costume party

Costume parties are fantastic college fundraisers. Encourage students to dress as their favorite superheroes, celebrities, or characters to raise donations.

Themed costume parties add extra fun and promote bonding among participants. Charge a minimal fee and promote the event through various channels, including social media


5. Letters to a crush

Letters to a crush

Harness the lovey-dovey feelings of college days with the “Letters to a Crush” fundraiser. Students act as cupids, delivering heartfelt letters to their secret crushes.

This fundraiser is cost-free and venue-independent, requiring only enthusiastic students willing to play matchmaker.


6. Poetry contest

Poetry Contest

Host a poetry contest to align with your college’s educational mission. Choose a date and venue within the campus and invite students to recite their original poems.

Promote the event through pamphlets, posters, and social media. Attract participants from various age groups who appreciate literature. Keep ticket prices reasonable to meet your fundraising targets.


7. Hosting a barbeque

Hosting a barbeque

Harness students’ culinary skills by hosting a barbeque on campus. This fun and flavorful fundraising event requires quality ingredients and a hygienic environment. Set reasonable prices for plates and consider providing complementary foods to surprise donors. Timing the event during holidays or special occasions can boost attendance and donations.


8. Campus scavenger hunt

Campus scavenger hunt

Organize an exciting and budget-friendly fundraiser with a campus scavenger hunt. Participants follow clues to locate items around the college campus, adding an element of mystery and excitement. Incorporate challenges or tasks to engage the event and motivate supporters to join the hunt.


9. Tie-dye day

Tie dye day

Embrace the tie-dye trend with a Tie-Dye Day fundraiser. Provide basic supplies like tie-dye kits, clothing apparel, and buckets. Promote the event through various online and offline channels and keep ticket prices affordable to encourage widespread participation.


10. Video game tournament

Video Game Tournament

One of the primary objectives of college fundraising events is to unite students and cultivate stronger bonds among them through friendly competitions like online gaming tournaments. Choosing accessible games like Monopoly, Candy Crush Saga, and Mario Kart makes it a cost-effective option and ensures inclusivity. To maximize engagement and outreach, consider livestreaming the tournament on your college’s social media platforms, allowing a broader audience to observe, cheer for their peers, and contribute donations.


11. Sweat-a-thon

Sweat a thon

Help students stay fit while raising funds for your college’s essential needs. Participants set personal fitness goals in this fundraising event, typically spanning a month. We recommend forming workout groups and establishing unique objectives for each group. People are generally more motivated and enthusiastic when they exercise together, fostering a sense of community.

Once the goals are set, share them with participants along with their workout schedules’ start and end dates. To support your cause, charge a nominal registration fee for participants and encourage them to invite family, friends, and close relatives to sponsor their fitness journey.


12. Alumni fundraising

Alumni fundraising

Alumni maintain a special connection with their alma mater and the department they were part of. Organizing a college fundraising program involving alumni can be highly successful, as many are eager to contribute to your cause. Consider various event options, such as a game or talent show night, a barbecue dinner, a gala meal or brunch, or a live band performance. Regardless of the event type you choose for your alumni fundraiser, aim to attract as many participants as possible.

To achieve this, set a reasonable entry fee for the event and reach out to potential participants by accessing the alumni database from the college’s contact log.


13. Plant sale

Plant sale

What could be more rewarding than hosting a fundraiser promoting an environmentally conscious cause, such as tree planting and saving lives? This fundraising event is remarkably straightforward, requiring minimal preparations and no extravagant venue. All you need is to collaborate with a local nursery willing to donate seedlings.

Collect enough seedlings based on your expected number of participants and promote the event online and offline. This fundraiser entails minimal effort in terms of organization and can attract a wide range of participants, including college students, alumni, friends, and family.

To encourage maximum participation, keep seedling prices affordable, allowing participants to purchase multiple seedlings to expand their collection of home plants while contributing to your cause.


14. Craft sale

Craft sale

Consider hosting a craft sale when you need to organize a college fundraiser without a specific idea quickly. Craft sales are engaging and have the potential to attract a large number of donors, as people love to collect unique hand-crafted items to adorn their homes or workspaces.

To organize a craft sale fundraiser, recruit students, alumni, or faculty members skilled in crafting and have them create a variety of crafts to sell at the event. Let crafters set their prices based on the materials used and the effort put into each item.

Promote the event across your community, other colleges and schools, and among the friends and families of participants to maximize donor attendance, sales, and overall revenue.


15. Pancake breakfast

Pancake breakfast

A pancake breakfast is a delightful and healthy fundraising idea for your college’s cause. You can collaborate with a local cafeteria or request permission to use your college’s kitchen to host the fundraiser. Enlist students with basic culinary skills to prepare pancakes for breakfast and set a fixed price for each plate.

Encourage participants to join their families and friends in the delicious pancake breakfast while supporting your cause. Enhance the event’s appeal by offering coffee, cookies, and other refreshments alongside the pancakes.

To attract more donors, promote the fundraiser extensively by distributing flyers, posting banners around the college and cafeteria, and leveraging social media platforms. Additionally, ensure that the fundraiser’s purpose is communicated so that supporters understand the impact of their ticket purchases, ultimately driving higher attendance and increased donations.


16. Bake sale

bake Sale

The universal love for baked goods makes a bake sale one of your college’s most profitable fundraising ideas. Baking also fosters a sense of camaraderie among participants, whether they are students, friends, or family members, as it requires teamwork in preparing the dough, kneading, shaping, baking, and presenting the baked items.

Identify willing students to participate in the bake sale and encourage them to involve their friends and family members as both bakers and supporters. Allow participants to bake various delicious items and set prices for each product.

Diversify the selection by including a range of items such as cookies, muffins, cakes, bread, buns, cheesecakes, cinnamon rolls, and doughnuts to attract a broad audience. By offering a variety of treats, you’ll entice more supporters to indulge their sweet tooth while contributing to your cause.


17. Fashion show

Fashion show

Elevate your college fundraiser into a lively and glamorous event by hosting a fashion show night! Consider partnering with a local fashion designer or boutique to ensure that participants dazzle on the runway.

Students can showcase their modeling skills by selecting trendy or branded clothing and accessories. This offers exposure to fashion brands and increases the likelihood of obtaining sponsorships from them.

To boost ticket sales, make the event affordable to attract students from other colleges, high schools, and institutes while also generating substantial donations. Additionally, this event allows students to showcase their chic and fashionable attire, leaving a lasting impression on the audience. The excitement generated among students makes garnering support for your fashion show fundraiser easier.


18. Community service event

Community service event

Transform your college fundraiser into a meaningful community service event, allowing students to engage in your college’s new initiatives. This DIY fundraising idea raises funds for your college’s cause and contributes to the community.

To host this fundraiser successfully, gather a team of dedicated volunteers willing to participate in various community service activities and promote the event through practical marketing efforts. Offer community services, including trash cleanup, volunteering with non-profits, assembling food kits, providing child-care services, coaching sports teams, and running winter clothing donation drives.

A community service event helps raise funds and enhances your college’s reputation and prestige. Thus, hosting a community service fundraiser is an ideal way to create a meaningful impact on society.


19. Movie night

Movie night

Make your fundraiser an entertaining and enjoyable experience by organizing an outdoor movie premiere night on your campus or at a local park. While securing the venue is relatively straightforward, you will need essential equipment such as a projector, blankets, cushions, chairs, and refreshments to enhance the attendees’ enjoyment.

In today’s age, hosting this fundraiser has become even more accessible with the availability of online streaming services. Ensure you attract students from your college and other institutions by setting an affordable admission fee that aligns with your fundraising goals. Enhance the experience further by offering popcorn and snack stalls, including sandwiches and burgers, to boost revenue from the event.


20. Water balloon throwing event

Water balloon throwing event

While some may believe that college fundraisers should be serious and formal, there are no strict rules on the types of events they should entail. Consider hosting a fun and exciting water balloon-throwing event as a unique and engaging fundraising idea.

This event is easy to organize and provides a thrilling experience for participants. You’ll need only a few packets of balloons, buckets, and water pumps to fill the balloons. Encourage students to participate and invite their friends and family to gather many supporters for your event. Setting a reasonable ticket price is crucial to maximize participation.

To make the event more exciting, offer small prizes or enthusiastic cheers for participants who hit the bull’s eye with their water balloons. This will keep the energy high and the fun flowing throughout the event.


21. Campus photo contest

Campus photo contest

Consider hosting a campus photo contest as a creative and engaging DIY college fundraising idea. This concept is profitable and straightforward to execute, as it capitalizes on the widespread interest in photography.

Set a deadline for participants to submit their photos and charge a small registration fee to cover the contest’s expenses. Promote the event within your campus and community to attract as many contestants as possible. You can also add a thematic element to the contest, such as a fall photo contest during autumn.

Once all the participants have submitted their photos, create a central display area within your college to showcase the entries and run the contest for a week or two. Include a rating or voting system under each photo to determine the winners, who can receive small prizes as rewards.


22. Pet therapy

Pet therapy

Despite sounding unconventional, a pet therapy fundraiser can be one of the most successful DIY college fundraising ideas with minimal effort required. Encourage students with pets to register and bring their furry friends to the event.

Create a pet therapy room on your college campus or collaborate with a local animal shelter to host this event. In today’s stress-filled world, such an event can be a major crowd-puller, as people find solace and comfort in the presence of animals. Many individuals would be enticed to participate in a pet therapy fundraiser.

Charge supporters for spending time with the pets, creating a win-win situation where they enjoy a relaxing experience, and you raise funds based on the amount of time they spend with the animals. The longer the interaction, the more money you can raise.


23. Quiz night

Quiz night

If you’re searching for a simple and cost-effective college fundraising idea, consider hosting a quiz night. This type of fundraiser requires minimal effort to organize and can be held in a large hall or auditorium on campus.

To attract participants, promote the quiz event both online and offline, targeting local educational institutions and a broad audience. Quiz nights often appeal to enthusiastic college students eager to test their knowledge and challenge their peers.


10 Expert Tips To Make Your College Fundraiser Idea A Great Success:

1. Establish a Committee:

Assemble a dedicated committee with members possessing vital organizational, communication, and accounting skills to plan and lead the fundraising efforts.

2. Brainstorm Unique Ideas:

Choose a creative and unique fundraising idea that aligns with your college’s culture and goals. Consider successful fundraising ideas from the past as inspiration.


3. Budget Planning:

Determine a budget that covers essential expenses such as venue rental, marketing materials, decorations, costumes (if needed), and miscellaneous costs.


4. Set Realistic Goals:

Set clear and achievable fundraising goals and communicate these goals to participants and potential donors to create a sense of purpose and urgency.


5. Comprehensive Advertising:

Promote your fundraiser extensively both online and offline, utilizing social media, flyers, posters, banners, and local media outlets.


6. Spread Outreach:

Personally reach out to alumni, community members, neighboring businesses, and other educational institutions to garner support and involvement.


7. Online Participation:

Offer online participation options for those unable to attend physically, particularly for events involving sales or auctions.


8. Streamline Registration:

Implement online registration and payment systems to streamline registration and accurately track participant numbers.


9. Express Gratitude:

Show appreciation to donors and supporters through thank-you gestures, such as personal calls, greeting cards, or social media acknowledgments.

10. Triple Check

Conduct thorough checks and reviews of all event details to ensure a seamless and successful fundraising event.

Why Host College Fundraising Events?

Hosting college fundraisers offers numerous benefits for both the institution and the community:


1. Financial Support

Fundraisers help bridge financial gaps, supporting essential operations, scholarships, educational programs, and research initiatives.

2. Resource Enhancement

By engaging a diverse audience, fundraisers can raise more funds than traditional sources, allowing colleges to expand resources and facilities.


3. Student Engagement

Fundraising events promote student engagement, fostering community and creating memorable experiences for current and former students.


4. Innovation Promotion

The additional funds raised can be channeled into research, innovation centers, and student workshops, promoting academic excellence and advancements.


Noteworthy Impacts of Successful College Fundraising:

• Increased Accessibility:

Fundraisers can support scholarships and grants financially, making education accessible to students regardless of their financial backgrounds.

• Facility Development:

Funds can be invested in campus facilities, libraries, student centers, and laboratories, enhancing the learning environment.

• Community Engagement:

Successful fundraisers strengthen community ties and partnerships, expanding the college’s network and community relationships.

• Sustainability and Growth:

Fundraisers contribute to colleges’ long-term sustainability and growth, enabling them to adapt to changing educational needs and challenges.


Get Set For The Best College Fundraising Idea With Midland Fundraising!

Host a unique fundraising event if your college runs short of funds and crucial educational programs or extracurriculars are on hold. We have listed here 31 interesting college fundraising ideas that are easy to host and have the potential to attract a huge audience.

Fundraisers are vital for colleges to thrive, offer quality education, and provide opportunities that positively impact students, the educational faculty, and the broader community.

Successful college fundraising has an influential impact on the students, faculty, and the college community. It supports student access to education, promotes academic excellence and innovation, enhances facilities and infrastructure, and helps enrich student life in many ways.

If you are planning to host any of the fundraising ideas, get in touch with Midland Fundraising! We offer support for various fundraising programs and will provide the essentials needed for materializing your fundraising idea. So, kick-start your unique fundraising idea with us!

Frequently Asked Questions on College Fundraising Ideas

1. How can I raise money for college?

Fundraising events, scholarships, grants, part-time jobs, and student loans are common ways to raise money for college.


2. What are good fundraiser ideas for colleges?

Some effective fundraiser ideas for colleges include fashion shows, community service events, movie nights, water balloon throwing events, campus photo contests, and pet therapy sessions.

3. Why do colleges need to fundraise?

Colleges often need to fundraise to support essential operations, provide scholarships, enhance educational programs, promote research, and maintain facilities.ss

4. What are the best things to sell for college fundraising?

Popular items to sell for college fundraising include chocolates, popcorn, cookies, candies, and other snacks. The choice of items may vary based on the season and target audience.


5. Are there any college fundraising ideas that work around the year?

Yes, some college fundraising ideas can be successful year-round, such as movie nights, talent shows, quiz nights, scavenger hunts, pet therapy sessions, community service events, and photo contests.